To be successful in life, whether it's in your job or a chosen sport, having a mentor to motivate you and push you to be your best can be make a world of difference.
For Mikayla Custance, mentorship and motivators have certainly been keys to her recent success as a figure competitor and fitness model.
Custance recently returned from the 30th annual Emerald Cup bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini expo and physique championships in Bellevue, Wash. with her mentor and personal trainer Charlene SanJenko.
SanJenko first met Custance when she was just 16.
"Her mom, Kim, brought her to see me with concerns about her lower back and weak core. That was four years ago, and we have long surpassed those initial concerns," SanJenko recalled. "As Mikayla got stronger, I caught a glimpse of her natural potential - potential to compete in figure competitions and pursue her fitness modelling dreams."
As soon as Custance made her decision to train for competition, the two set some tangible goals, solidified a progressive work plan and got down to business.
Custance competed in her first figure competition in 2009 at just 17. It allowed her to get a feel for competition in this sport (she was already an accomplished three-day event equestrian competitor).
"Most importantly, it solidified her belief that her goals were indeed possible with the help of an experienced mentor, some positive motivation, a solid work ethic and a determined mindset," SanJenko said. "The Emerald Cup encouraged Mikayla to set a future goal, take action on a progressive plan to meet that goal, overcome the nerves and fear of failure that are part of any experience that challenges you just beyond your comfort zone, rise to shine on the day of competition, celebrate achievements and reflect on the journey afterwards - all significant ingredients in personal development and an opportunity encouraging growth into the absolutely amazing young woman that she is."
Her journey involved a whole lot of weight training, cardio, egg whites, chicken breasts, practising posing and walking in four-inch heels, spray-tanning, copious amounts of water and the whole gamut of emotions.
The result? Well, let's just say it's changed her life
"I have always been a competitive person," Custance said. "I love to have a goal to work towards, so for me, I do this first of all because I love it. I love training. I never had any pressure to get up on stage. I was always told from the day I was asked to do a show until at the Emerald Cup that if at any time I wanted out I could. I do it for me."
But like any training regimen, there were days, of course, where she wanted to take a break.
"As much as I love to train, there were days when I would get to the gym at 6 a.m. and just wanted to cry though my workout. I was tired, hungry and just felt weak. But I knew I had to push through, I knew it would all be worth it, and it was," she said.
"In bodybuilding, you learn more about yourself then you would ever think possible, if you can do this, you can do anything. If you can dedicate yourself to train three times a day for about one to two hours at a time, stick to a strict diet plan and push yourself to do five more reps when you think you're done, just think what you are capable to do in any aspect of your life."
Custance ended up placing ninth in her class at the Emerald Cup.
"I am very fortunate to have such a great trainer in Charlene. I couldn't imagine doing this on my own," she said. "I hope to keep working with her and continue competing. I would love to one day earn my pro card and compete with the pros."
A magazine that recently featured a photo of Custance also approached her at the show to let her know that they have plans to expand into Canada and when they do they'll be looking for athletes to sponsor and will be contacting her.
It seems the sky is the limit for Custance.
© Coast Reporter